“The promise of the ages, it then did recall!” This line from the hauntingly beautiful song, “I Wonder as I Wander”, brings great comfort to my heart. As I write this, Judy, one of our Saturday Night Worship group lies in a hospital bed, approaching the home that Jesus has prepared for her in heaven. Her family reports that she is resting, finally out of the pain that has wracked her body. A peaceful assurance of her eternity with Jesus overshadows the sorrow her departure will bring for us. Jesus did keep the promise of the ages, the promise relayed by prophets of old, the promise of the Father. He came, born of a virgin, died on the cross as our sin-bearer, and rose victorious on the third day. And, because He lives, we too will live!
Christmas and Easter, intwined in God’s eternal plan, bring hope to all who will give Him their heart as an abiding place. From heaven’s glory to a humble cow’s manger; from the manger to a cruel cross and grave. From the grave to His glorious throne. All out of love for us! Even as I write this I am filled with awe. What a wonderful God we know, love and serve. Will you pause in adoration and worship with us?
November happenings: A few days after returning from the Cameron Peak forest fire, Melva and I drove to Stanton, CA to visit our newest granddaughter. What a wonderful time we had visiting little Sydney, Elizabeth (2), and parents Tim and Sara. We returned and spent a few days in preparation, then left for Guthrie, OK where we were blessed to share a week of services with our friends at Abell Community Church. We believe the Lord is starting a new chapter at Abell as the faithful saints there are joined by some amazing new folks. Please pray for Abell as they seek the man God has been preparing to be their pastor. Returning from OK, we encountered a short but intense snow storm. Cars and trailers had spun out and an ambulance was transporting victims, yet we passed safely through. Thank you for your consistent prayers for us, they mean everything. On Thanksgiving, our Saturday Night group delivered meals to several needly families and, Lord willing, at Christmas we will deliver gifts to each child and adult.
Upcoming: I started work with the Crested Butte Ski School today (11/30). By the Lord’s grace, this will be my 52nd year of teaching. Did you know that most of our out-of-town speaking engagements started with invitations from ski students? I’ve been able to share the love of Jesus with co-workers, political leaders, television and recording personalities, professional athletes, coaches, pastors, missionaries and more!
On December 10th I’ve been asked to share on the Lord’s Roundtable, a radio ministry to truckers that’s heard in over 50 countries. Lord willing, at the end of February I will once again help lead worship for the High Ground men’s Bible/ski conference in Beaver Creek CO. In between work and our services here, I hope to resume my re-writing of Charles Spurgeon’s classic Lectures to My Students, a wonderful training resource for men going into ministry. Please continue to pray for us as we press forward!
Family: By God’s grace, each of our family is doing well, a lot of adjusting of course, but COVID-19-free! Thank you for praying for our family.
Mail Bag: Each month we receive some great notes from folks around the world. This past week Mike and Wanda wrote reminding us that they accepted Christ at meetings we held in 1972 in the small community of La Jara, CO. Cindy and Bill wrote of how we served on a snowy night after Bill had a ski injury, Jim and Jeanne remembered our times in Crested Butte when Jeanne was the worship leader for James Robison crusades. Dawn, a missionary recalled how we joined her in reaching out to a Forest Service employee who was dying of cancer. Each of these are still active in our Lord’s service! It’s so encouraging to hear from you!
Bibles and Devotionals: What an exciting time of sending out God’s word! In the past two months we’ve received requests for over 700 firefighter and police New Testaments, devotionals and my book, “God on the Fireline”. They have gone to WY, PA, MO, MS, AL, NC and Florida! One wildland firefighter wrote, “I received the New Testaments and have given away several including one to a soldier leaving on deployment”. Another wrote that the materials came while she was facing some serious medical tests. She read half of my book the night they came. And, her tests came out great! Thank you for supporting the Bible Fund!
Finances: In 1 Kings 17 we read the account of the prophet Elijah and a widow. There was a famine in the land and Elijah asked the widow to fix him a meal. She replied that there was only a little flour and oil left and she intended to fix a small meal for her and her son and then die. Elijah told her that if she would use the last flour and oil to feed him, her jar of flour and oil wouldn’t run out until the drought ended. The widow obeyed in faith and the miracle happened as the prophet said it would. Jesus said, 38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38). We have seen this happen over and over again. As we give away Bibles, help families in need, send support to “alumni” missionaries and preach the gospel without charge, it comes back. Every need is being met. Thank You!
Gifts to Missionaries: Several Christmases ago, the Lord laid on our heart a special burden. We saw pastors and missionaries having to retire or leave the field due to age or medical conditions; a number with little or no retirement income. We felt led to send a “Christmas” check to several, especially those serving in small mission agencies and churches, to help them build a retirement fund. We weren’t sure the ministry could afford it but we would try. Immediately after we mailed the checks unexpected gifts arrived which covered the entire amount. Every year since then we have continued this tradition, and the “flour and oil” haven’t run out. You are an important part in this blessing!
Prayer Requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to increase as we share the glorious message of Christmas. Please pray for alumni Cisco and Naomi as they send out 40 missionaries in Mexico and Brazil! Please pray for the Lord to be with the widows of those workers who have passed into glory this year; Patti, Stephanie and Dee. Please pray for Christian workers Gene Getz, Jim and Glenda Schammerhorn, and Mariah Green who are having serious medical issues. Please pray our nation would turn to the Savior, the only One who can truly bring Joy to the World! We Love You!
Rick and Melva
“Love and joy come to you,
And to you glad Christmas too
And God bless you and send you
A Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year”
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Rick Barton Ministires